I largely dislike Jean-Luc Godard’s entire career and much of the French New Wave for that matter. Band of Outsiders is a great reason why. This film is seen as a classic by so many people. It has its moments. There’s the cute dance scene. There’s the sprint through the Louvre. There’s Anna Karina’s face. But it’s also a ridiculous film. The two male leads are played as nothing more than dumb thugs with a fascination with American B films. They act like idiots through most of the film. They pretend to go down in gun fights, which fits the behavior of 10 year olds more than 25 year olds planning a pretty big crime. The actual death scene is a parody of the already ridiculous death scenes of said B movies. Karina falls in love with one and then the other for no apparent reason than her massive insecurity as a young woman in a Godard film who needs a man. The mid-60s was such a weird time. It’s rebellion by young people who don’t know how to rebel yet. It was actually a relief when they decided to start burning the world down in 1968, at least this was actual rebellion.
Godard was definitely one of those young people and then somehow his films got even worse once he went into Maoism and whatever pointlessness he’s continued to release from time to time for decades. I get the reaction to the French “film of quality.” But I don’t find this to be a particularly quality film. Karina saves some of it. Mostly, I found it excruciating. And I find the love for it by so many filmmakers since to be mystifying.
Anyway, here’s the trailer.